Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 16, 2017

a needed reminder to always

It’s Thursday morning.  Has it been a stressful week? If so, words that were meaningful to me years ago may help to re-calibrate your thinking as they did mine. Accept them from a fellow struggler that needed what Philippians 4:4 has to say.

Have you ever used the old adage, never say never? We have all used those words because circumstances that we think may never happen, often do! Another phrase that has been running through my mind this week is never say always. There are many things in life that I would like to always do; such as always eating enough of my daily fruits and vegetables, always working out consistently every week, always being sensitive to my wife and daughter and always living without worry or anxiety. You can probably relate to my never say always agenda of living. But words mean something, and my mind and heart were drawn this week to a place of always.

Before I state the passage that relates to always, it must be said that Scripture is not a hope-so book that is full of good motivation, but lacking in reality. Is it God’s Word, true for every situation and can be applied with success. The reason for my short diatribe is my belief that most Christ-followers struggle to believe that certain principles can work for them. It is not that we deny the principle, but somehow we just don’t think certain mandates will really work for us. However, when God gives us a Biblical mandate to follow, never doubt His ability to make it work in your life. He knows we aren’t perfect, but His Word is perfecting.  It’s absolutely and always true, and we can live it. But what if Scripture declares that we should do something always?

In my reading this week, I came upon a verse from Philippians chapter four. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Wait a minute! I want to be an obedient Christian, but rejoicing always is a little over the top for someone who never says always. However, I also know that Scripture is true, so I can live with a rejoicing heart. It’s also a difficult principle to wrap my arms around over the last few days; I have seen lots of pain in the lives of others. To just give them the platitude to rejoice always can come across as insensitive and even uncaring. But Scripture is true, and we can live rejoicing … always.

If you study Philippians, you will concur that life wasn’t perfect for the people of Philippi. And the writer of the book, Paul, was in prison. So these words were not delivered in a perfect setting. And God still said through Paul; Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Trials and difficultly are no less stressful today than they were centuries ago in Philippi, and Paul’s words still ring true. We can live rejoicing in the Lord always. Note the following words from John MacArthur’s commentary on Philippians to help gain perspective on rejoicing always.

Some, wrongly identifying joy as a purely human emotion, find Paul’s twice –repeated command to rejoice puzzling. How, they ask, can people be commanded to produce an emotion? But joy is not a feeling; it is the deep-down confidence that God is in control of everything for the believer’s good and His own glory, and thus all is well no matter what the circumstances.

Life will always confront you and me with challenges. But when we choose to live each day (start today) with a deep-down confidence that God is in control, we can rejoice. And we can rejoice always when every day is filtered through that confidence. Sure, we will have some slip-ups, but rejoicing always can become our new pattern. Joy doesn’t deny our pain, but rather yields control of pain and circumstances to the One who is in control.

Remember, Scripture is true, and we can rejoice always, and again I say rejoice. And I promise you that this is one area in which I will never use the words: never say always.  How about you?

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